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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  October 31, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT

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>> this is n.b.r. >> susie: and with that the new york stock exchange is back in business. good evening i'm susie gharib. u.s. stocks are trading again, after hurricane sandy forces an historic two-day shutdown. >> tom: wall street gets back to business, as damage and recovery estimates start to climb, plus, what it takes to restore power to millions in the northeast. >> susie: and with stocks open for trading, no surprise, home depot was the dow's standout. >> tom: lots ahead, that and more tonight on "n.b.r."! >> susie: an historic day on here on wall street, after the storm of the century knocked down the financial district.
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us stock markets resumed operations today after two days in the dark, stocks were little changed: both the dow and the nasdaq fell 10 points, but the s&p 500 gained a fraction. trading here at the new york stock exchange opened without a hitch. the new york stock exchange opened right on time. and as new york's mayor bloomberg rang the opening bell this morning, traders were happy to be back to work. it looked like a normal day, with the buzz of activity, traders milling about. it was anything but normal no one knows that better than larry leibowitz, the head of the nyse's floor operations. he's has been working with the exchange's staff for four straight days, and he even slept in his office last night to make sure the big board would be up and running today. >> we and the rest of the market are in great shape. it's surprising, almost surprising how great shape not
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just us but the rest of the market is, given how much potential disruption there was. >> reporter: still the internet and cell phones were not working. many traders rely on their cell phones to execute trades. some got creative to get business done. >> what we've done is we've moved things like the internet off site and we are actually operating from one of our associate's apartments on the upper west side of manhattan. and we have all of our connectivity. >> reporter: but it was a different story outside the exchange. everything is closed. no power anywhere, traffic lights are out, signs of flooding from the massive storm visible, the wall street subway station is still closed, and the streets are deserted. it was a down day for stocks, but that seemed less important here on wall street. >> the events that caused the closure were terrible and terribly destructive and loss of life, but at the end of the day the markets need to function and it sends a very positive message to the investing public both in
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the united states and around the world. in order to keep that positive sentiment flowing. the big board says it has seralarge generators keeping the lights on, and say they will be able to do that until power is restored to financial district. >> tom: the economic toll from hurricane sandy won't be known for quite a while, but already there are expectations the clean-up and rebuilding costs will surpass those from hurricanes irene and katrina. although there are countless businesses hurt, others could see a boost. erika miller reports. >> reporter: when you consider the massive amounts of flooding, downed trees, and damage to transportation networks, it could take days-- if not weeks, to tally up the financial costs from the storm. but already there are predictions sandy will be the most expensive clean-up in u.s. history. the most serious damage appears to be caused by flooding along the east coast. according to economic tracking firm i.h.s. global insight,
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property damage will likely surpass $20 billion. add to that as much as $30 billion in lost business, and the total financial toll could end up being close to $50 billion. hotels, stores, airlines, and restaurants have lost business they wot get back. insurance companies will have to make big payouts, which will likely mean higher insurance premiums for customers down the road. here in new york city, commerce has been crippled. and power is not expected to be restored in many areas until next week. i.h.s. global predicts that if the areas affected by sandy lose a quarter of their output for just two days, it would knock about $25 billion off u.s. economic growth in the fourth quarter. that could be as much a 0.6%. but longer-term, some of the financial losses should be recovered by repair and rebuilding efforts. home improvement stores like home depot and lowes will likely
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get a boost in sales. many construction jobs will be created to rebuild homes and businesses. and governments will be spending huge amounts of money to repair subways, roads, and bridges so all of those efforts should help boost economic activity early next year. erika miller, "n.b.r.," new york. >> susie: joining us now for a closer look at sandy's economic impact, mark zandi, chief economist at moody's analytics. you know, mark, people often hear that when there's a sdater like zandi, that it's actually a boost to the economy. is that going to be true in this case? >> well, no. this is a natural disaster. disasters are bad for the economy. obviously, the big hit to the economy initially, is what we're seing in new york. you do get rebuilding, and economy benefits from that, but net, net, the economy is in a worse place. natural disasters are bad for the economy, not good. >> susie: you heard in erica's
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remit some businesses are going to benefit, maybe hox*echl builders and cuk companies. if you look at the economy, who are the winners and losers in terms of various sectors? >> well, there's more losers than winners. the losers would be the restaurants, they're not going to serve meals that aren't getting served. airlines, trucking companies, you know, the casinos fnlt fshs services. the secretaried to and trading is shutownor a couple of days, never get that back. the winners are clear. the homebuilders, home improvement, you mentioned home depot and loews and hardware stores. online retailers might benefit because department stores are closed. so some winners, but on net, more losers than winners. >> susie: so what do you see net, net, the economic impact. we know the economy has been weak and muddling along. what does sandy do to the
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economic numbers near the close of the year. >> obviously this is paiflt to new york city and the broader new york region, and the entire northeast. but the u.s. economy is very resilient. it gets by these natural disasters pretty quickly. so tell be a very small negative on the economy in the fourth quarter. i don't think tell be close to the half percent you mentioned, a small negative, but a small positive for next year, and by next spring, i don't think a net impact. >> obviously, new york city is a different story. it has more sig kanltd regnal effects, but nationally. i don't think the impact is that large. >> i know you've been studying katrina and irene. where does sandy fit in terms of economic impact? what are your numbers showing? >> good question, susie. >> in terms of total economic
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loss. because airms aren't going, and restaurants aren't serving meals, and the property damage i think tell come to about50 biion. put this in context, that's roughly the consequence of 9/11. it you sad up katrina it was 150 million. it's a big storm and a lot of damage, but less than katrina. >> susie: quickly, mark, because on friday we have the employment numbers coming out. i'd like your take on that. what are you expecting in terms of new job hirings and the unemployment rate? we've created 150,000 jobs a month over the past three years. i expect that's roughly what we'll get. unemployment, as you remember, it dips down unexpectedly to
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7.8%, i expect that will notch up a tenth or two. i don't think we go over 8%. >> susie: it could notch up a bilt. good information. mark, always a pleasure talking to you. mark zandi. >> thank you. >> tom: still ahead, from downed powerlines, to flooded out utilities, we talk about powering back up after sandy, with the head of nextera energy. >> susie: hurricane sandy has created an energy shock in the northeast, gas pumps aren't working, supplies are tight, and where there is fuel, there are long lines; reminiscent of the 1970's gas shortage. with two major gasoline refineries in the northeast region still shut down, capacity is off 10%. and with spotty power, especially in parts of new jersey, gas pumps don't work, so many gas stations are closed to drivers, and people looking to fuel their generators. >> tom: airlines, trucking
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companies and railroads are all working to untangle the mess left in sandy's wake. bridges into manhattan are now open again, but not all the traffic tunnels have re-opened, and the subway remains closed. airports are re-opening but getting the northeast moving again faces a long road ahead. darren gersh reports. >> reporter: at sandy's peak, flooding covered the runways at new york's laguardia airport. as the waters recede, f.a.a. technicians are repairing landing lights and navigational systems. and airlines hope they will be able to offer limited service at laguardia tomorrow. in washington, boston, newark, and new york's john f. kennedy, airport operations are returning to normal. flightaware estimates 2,800 flights were canceled today, down from a peak of almost 8,000 on monday. tomorrow, 530 flights have been officially scrapped, but that will grow, if as seems likely, laguardia has trouble opening tomorrow. add up and airlines took a big hit from sandy.
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>> you can multiply 18,000 canceled flights by a few tens of thousands of dollars in revenue per flight and you're well north of $100 million in lost revenue. some of it they will be able to recover by flying flights more full over the next week, but a lot of it is gone. >> reporter: if it rolls on the ground, recovery will take longer. amtrak is providing limited service south and north of new york. but it gave no estimate for when flooded tunnels will be cleared and service restored into new york's penn station. darren ger, "n.b.r.," washington. >> susie: the crippled transportation system is a big headache for fedex, joining us paul tronsor. he runs fed-ex' global operations control center in memphis. paul, how are things going at fedex, and are you getting any planes into the metro-new york city area? >> good afternoon. it's a great news story for fedex. we've restarted our air operation into the newark
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metro area. and, in fct, w were the first jets to land in newark this morning, and since then, we've put over a dozen airplanes into that and j.f.k. >> susie: la guardia is still under water, how that is impacting your operations? >> we don't have scheduled operations into la guardia, we're scheduled in j.f.k. and newark. so we're in good shape in j.f.k., but our people are at work and sorting packages. >> susie: even though the planes are getting in, and the fedex messengers are getting out, there's a lot of that don't have power. how do you know whether you should be delivering a package or not? is this slowing you down? >> it is slowing us down. our team members are affected by the same transportation limit anticipations as everyone else in the region, and our fedex delivery
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stations are located in the neighborhood in which they deliver, so they have a good sense of what's available to deliver to. fedex also offers a service whereby y n actually ask for your package to be held at a fedex location for you to pick it up. so if you know you won't be home or your neighborhood is inaccessible. you can ask them to hold it. we're making the packages available for customers. >> susie: what impact does it have on volume, especially this time of year with people holiday shopping? >> obviously, when the area was closed down, it had an impact on the overall volume. our goal is to make sure it doesn't impact the rest, and we've isolated the problem there, but it has had an impact on our package volume in that region.
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i'm happy to say we restored service today, and we're picking up packages and have more than our scheduled activity region, and adding flights in anticipation of the volume returning. >> susie: that's great news for a lot of businesses and consumers. thank you so much, paul for coming on thprogm. paul tonsor of fedex. >> tom: emergency workers across the east coast continue working tonight to clear roads, restore power, and rescue people trapped in their homes. it's nearly impossible to know how much sandy's aftermath will cost, but soon, it will be time to add it up. sylvia hall explains who will
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end up paying what. >> reporter: east coast emergency workers may be in overdrive right now cleaning up sandy's mess. but eventually, someone will have to pay the tab for all their efforts. matt doherty, mayor of the small coastal new jersey community of belmar, expects astronomical costs. his city is using the internet to reach out for private donations to help the cleanup. >> i can tell u with no sition d no equivatio that the cost will far exceed anything that our community can bare. we do not have the financial resources to recover from this alone. >> reporter: new york and new jersey have both been declared major disaster areas, which means fema will pay 75% of local governments' costs. the other 25% are shared by state and local governments. fema also has the green light to help families in hard-hit areas pay for damage that's not covered by their insurance plans. the money comes from fema's disaster relief fund. right now, it has $3.6 billion. congress has also allotted an
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additional $7 billion, and officials say they're confident they can foot the bill. of course, private insurance companies will also pay out claims for damage, early estimates, put the insurance industry's tab at $10 billion. still, some policy holders who didn't separate flood insurance, could be in for a big surprise. >> those policies are available through the national flood insurance program. however, if you didn't have one, you may have a situation where you're not going to have coverage for your loss if all you had was flood damage. >> reporter: insurance companies say adjusters are ready to start assessing damage and paying claims. but the scope of the damage could slow down the claims process, making for some frustrated customers. sylvia hall, "n.b.r.," washington. >> tom: half of new jersey remains in the dark tonight. but noose an improvement in the past 24 hours as utility crews work to restore electricity across 16 states. 6.2 million customers have no
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por according to the latest data from the u.s. department of energ at'sown om more than 8 million without electricity last night. in addition to new jersey, more than 1 in 10 customers in connecticut, new hampshire, pennsylvania, rhode island and west virginia have no power. ny nuclear power plants remain offline with two others operateding to produce capacity. >> we're joined from jupiter florida. what are your cleagues facing lewis? >> they're facing restoration process with a storm that covers so many states and has done so much damage as everybody is seeing on tv. they have many, many lines down, poles down, transformers damaged. substations that are under water, and have to get dried
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out. equipment vault that is are flooded. they lot of work ahead of them. >> tom: w does a ceo -- how do you begino prioritizell of that work? >> actually, the priority is pretty well established before the storm even hits. every utiltd works with emergency operations center and develops a priority list. typically the way it works is critical infrastructure customers get their power back first. critical infrastructure customers would be things like police stations hospitals, nursing homes, fire departments, you know, people who deal with the public safety and plic alth. after that,hefocus then is on what work can be done to get the most number of customers back the fastest. >> tom: you've been talking with colleagues and on a conference call with the ment yesterday. what did you learn about the situation and the role the federal government is playing?
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>> people are facing a pretty tough situation, but i want to assure you that all these utilities are very professional and know what they're doing. they have the equipment. they have the supplies, and in fact, as an industry, we all help one another out. virtually every single investor owns a utily across the koptdinental united states, and sntd extra lineman and crews to help restore people's power. you're right. we did talk with the president yesterday. he spentd about 40 minutes on the phone with all the ceos. he's very engageed in this. he's wanting to help. he know what is it takes, professional and trained linemen to restore the power, but knows the government has a lot of resources they can provide to help clear the way. and that would meanlearing streets of bris so crews can get to the job sites or helping to facilitate crews coming from across the country to get to the affected areas
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sooner. things of that sort. >> tom: tomorrow, we victim more with lewis hay on paying for the rates and the nation's power infrastructure. >> resources they have and didn't have. there were technical issues. they were resolved very quickly. order flow was pretty good. you probably saw the volume
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was on the light side. but for all practical purposes, you know, it was business as usual. and things got up and running. very impressive what the new york stock exchange pulled off here today. >> tom: price discovery is what they call t. when the markets open that's what you saw, and we saw that today across the board with stocks, commoditys and bonds. back at it, a quiet day of trading for the major indices despite all the concern about a lot of volatility. the s&p 500 popping. a little at the opening bell, but couldn't hold the higher prices. the index had a narrow trading range of only a dozen points. it closed up a fraction. trading volume was heavier than usual on the big board, 848 million shares. 1.8 billion traded on the nasdaq. the utilities sector saw the strongest buying, up 0.8%. the financial sector gain 0.6%.
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but it was a different story for the month of october. this month the utilities sector sathe heavie selng, down 6.8%. the financial sector had the strongest october, up 1.8%. home improvement retailer home depot was one of the two strongest stocks for the dow jones industrial average. shares shot up 2.2%. volume almost doubled. with millions of homes and businesses damaged, demand for building materials will rise in the north-east. other companies that could be in demand, lowe's gained 3.2%. building material maker owens corning was up 6.8% and generator manufacturer generac shot up 20%. meantime, apple stock saw selling after announcing its most significant management shake-up yet under c.e. tim cook when the market was osed. apple fell 1.4%, to its lowest price since late july. apple replaced its top retail executive and the head of its mobile software system left. netflix shares were active, rising 13.9%. activist investor carl icahn disclosed a 10% stake. general motors continues seeing business grow in asia and south
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america, even as earnings were down last quarter in the u.s., and it lost money in europe. the bottom line for g.m. in the third quarter was stronger than ancipated. earnings per share totaled 93 cents, well above the 60 cents per shares expected. g.m. returned to profitability in south america and china profit jumped 10%. shares jumped 9.5% as volume tripled. g.m. hopes to stop losing money in europe by the middle of the decade. yesterday, ford told us it expects its european business to begin turning around in about a year. today, ford shares were also on the move after its strong earnings report during the market closure. ford rallied 8.2%. over $11 per share for the first time since may. some merger action in the clothes and fashion industry hit the tape with p.v.h. buying warnaco group, that's the company licensing calvin klein, speedo and other brands. warncstock shot up almost 39%. the dl tols $2.8 llion in cash and stock. the buyer, p.v.h., rose 20% as a big sign of market confidence in the deal. and u.s. vitamin maker schiff nutrition has agreed to be bought by bayer, pushing schiff stock up 46%.
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the five most actively traded exchange traded products were mixed. the volatility note saw the biggest gain, up 2%. and that's tonight's "market focus." >> susie: a warning tonight from the u.s. treasury: we're nearing the debt ceiling, hitting a limit on how much the nation can borrow to keep the government running. treasury sayse'll likely reach that borrowing limit, of $16.4 trillion near the end of this year. the agency says it can use extraordinary measures to gain
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some headroom, and keep borrowing into next year. but economists expect negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, will get tied up in the fiscal cliff debate, which is expected to take center stage in washington, after next week's election. >> tom: tomorrow on "n.b.r." its the nation's financial capital, we look at the challenges and cost of getting new york city moving again. >> susie: all of this is happening on hallowee. that's nightly business report for wednesday, october 31, halloween, have a od and safe evening everyone. >> tom: goodnight susie, we' see you online at:
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and back here tomorrow night. captioning sponsored by wpbt captioned by media access group at wgbh >> join us anytime at there, you'll find full episodes of the program, complete show transcripts and all the market stats. also follows us on our facebook page at bizrpt. and on twitter @bizrpt.
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